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March 31, 2017

Today’s announcement is a momentous development that will have profound implications for our City and, I believe, our country. For too long, the conditions at Rikers Island have been far beneath the dignity of our City. It has epitomized a broken criminal justice model that allows untold numbers of people to languish while awaiting trial with little or no access to essential services and programs that prevent recidivism. By committing to close this facility, we are acting in line with our values and moving New York in the direction of greater fairness and justice. I commend everybody involved for this courageous move and I look forward to supporting its implementation over the next ten years.



Pix11: Thousands at Stonewall Inn for LGBTQ solidarity rally against Trump’s executive orders

February 4, 2017

FEBRUARY 4, 2017


WEST VILLAGE, Manhattan — At least one person was arrested near Stonewall Inn Saturday where thousands of people of the LGBTQ community gathered to rally against President Donald Trump’s executive order.

Protesters and state and city officials gathered near Stonewall Inn about 2 p.m. Though protesters were arrested, it was a largely peaceful rally.

GLAAD and other LGBTQ organizations hosted the LGBT Solidarity rally to show support for the “immigrants, asylum seekers, refugees, women and other communities that Trump has already taken aim at,” according to the GLAAD website.

More than 60 organizations sponsored the event. The LGBTQ community said they understand how the people impacted by the travel ban feel and are standing in solidarity with them.

“Are u going to tell them I resisted are you going to tell them I stood up for my Muslim brothers and sisters!” councilman Corey Johnson, who organized the event, said at the rally.

“We have the ability to push back we will protest and engage in civil disobedience let our voices be heard,” Johnson said.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, who has been a vocal opponent against Trump’s travel ban, spoke at the rally and led a “Dump Trump” chant. Schumer criticized education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos.

“I know you have my back and I have yours. We are going to ‘Dump Trump!'” Schumer said.

The rally follows more than a week of protests and boycotts since Trump signed an executive order banning refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. President Trump has also said he opposes same-sex marriage.

This week, a leaked draft of another presidential executive order that would effectively weaken LGBTQ individuals from being protected from discrimination. The White House has declined to say if it would be signed.

Last Saturday, thousands turned out for the spontaneous protest at JFK Airport where refugees who arrived just as the executive order went into effect were detained.

On Friday, a federal judge in Seattle temporarily suspended Trump’s executive order nationwide. The Department of Homeland Security announced it too has stopped all actions to implementing the immigration order.



January 3, 2017

I commend Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on this groundbreaking announcement. Receiving a college education is imperative in today’s economy. Achieving a degree creates a plethora of opportunities that would be nearly impossible without one. Unfortunately, due to the ever-increasing cost of higher education, those opportunities have been limited and costly for students across the country. Governor Cuomo’s proposal will ensure that higher education will no longer be unattainable, and make college tuition-free for hundreds of thousands of students statewide. This program is a true investment in the future of New York, and I applaud the Governor for his leadership on this vital issue.



BK Reader: City Council Introduces Package of Bills to Win a Fair Work Week for NYC Fast Food Workers

December 8, 2016

December 8, 2016

The New York City Council and 32BJ SEIU (The Service Employees International Union) held a press conference Tuesday morning in front of City Hall to introduce a package of bills which aim to provide NYC fast food workers a fair work week and a $15/hour hourly wage.

Although the press conference mainly addressed fast food workers’ concerns, other hospitality workers, including concierges at hotels and residential buildings were also on site to show their support.

Speakers at the press conferences included Shantel Walker and Alvin Major, both long-time advocates for fast food workers, City Councilmembers Brad Lander, Corey Johnson, and Sherry Leiwant, co-president of A Better Balance, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people at all income levels take care better care of their families without losing their financial security.

The fight for $15 hourly rate began four years ago, and the issue of a fair work week emerged soon after. To a lot of people working in the fast food industry, indeed those working in retail industry in general, a fair work week means receiving schedules two weeks in advance; avoiding back-to-back, on-call scheduling; having access to more hours; getting sick days; and being able to request schedule change without the fear of retaliation.

Currently, “twenty percent of the fast food worker do not know their schedule 24 hours before they go to work,” said one of the city council members. A predictable work schedule will enable fast food workers to make plans for their families, take care of family emergencies, take on leisure activities, or even find other jobs they deem necessary.

The package also includes the Fast Food Empowerment Act, the first of its kind in the country., which once passed, will allow fast food workers to legally form non-profit organizations.

The Fast Food Empowerment Act also calls for the employers to make a paycheck deduction of voluntary contributions to a non-profit organization if the employee wishes to do so.



September 20, 2016

Port Authority officials and representatives of New York and New Jersey have agreed on the need for a new West Side bus terminal and endorsed a new expanded, comprehensive planning process, which would include an analysis of potential temporary and additional bus facility sites and how a new bus facility should be integrated with current and future regional transportation assets. All future planning for the project will include significant stakeholder and public input.

Joining with the agency on today’s statement from New York are Congressman Jerry Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Assembly Members Richard Gottfried and Linda Rosenthal, Councilmember Corey Johnson, Community Board 5 Chair Vikki Barbero, and Community Board 4 Chair Delores Rubin.

Joining with the agency on today’s statement from New Jersey are New Jersey State Senators Loretta Weinberg, Thomas Kean Jr. and Robert Gordon.

Ideas and input from a panel review of five design competition concepts submitted Aug. 29 as part of the Port Authority’s Design and Deliverability Competition may inform the planning process, which will include a larger universe of planning options to be considered for replacing the existing obsolete and deteriorating 66-year-old terminal, which serves approximately 232,000 passengers each weekday – a figure the Port Authority expects to jump to 337,000 passengers daily by 2040. The agency’s Board of Commissioners has not yet been presented with these concepts and the panel will not designate a recommended concept.

The comprehensive planning process will comply with expected federal, state and local environmental review and regulatory processes, with extensive public and stakeholder input, including regular meetings with city and state officials and local partners which the Port Authority expects to begin this month, as well as public meetings in the future. 

The five concepts the panel will evaluate will be available (Thursday) for public review and comment at, which further explains the agency’s goals. Five separate concepts previously developed by staff can be viewed at Inclusion of concepts on the website does not express a view as to feasibility from construction or financial standpoints or community acceptability.

Members of the public are invited to submit their comments via the website. The Port Authority encourages all interested parties – commuters, neighborhood residents, business partners and other stakeholders – to provide their assessments, which will be reviewed as part of the planning process by agency officials.





September 18, 2016

The people of Chelsea will not be cowed by acts of violence and intimidation. When faced with challenges, we come together as a community and emerge even stronger. My thoughts are with over two dozen people who were injured. I want to extend my deepest gratitude to the NYPD, FDNY, EMS services and federal authorities who keep us safe and who are investigating thoroughly.‎ I am in close contact with the Mayor’s office and Police Commissioner’s office as this investigation unfolds. I urge anyone with any information about these incidents to contact authorities immediately.

News, Uncategorized


September 12, 2016

“I am excited that the project to transform the Javits Center into a 21st Century event space is taking this important next step. Under Governor Cuomo’s plan, this redesign has the potential to greatly grow the space’s capacity, make it more competitive and reduce traffic congestion and air pollution problems that have affected the neighborhood for too long. As the greatest city in the world, New York deserves a world class convention center, and I’m confident that this plan will deliver just that. I’m excited to see the proposals that come from of this RFP, and I commend Governor Cuomo for his determination on this hugely important project.”


DNA Info: Students Paint Stars For Canadian Town That Took in Planes on 9/11

August 26, 2016

August 26, 2016

HELL’S KITCHEN — On Sept. 11, 2001, more than 200 airplanes scheduled to land in the U.S. were diverted into Canada as part of the country’s “Operation Yellow Ribbon.”

Thirty-eight of those planes landed at an airport in Gander, Newfoundland, where community institutions and townspeople set up cots and donated platters of food for the more than 6,000 passengers who landed there.

“No one asked [the people of Gander] to do it — no one required them to do it,” said Maria Jaffe, a docent at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

She and a small, independent group of docents from the museum and the 9/11 Tribute Center, as well as people who lost loved ones on 9/11, will travel to Gander this September to mark the 15th anniversary of the attacks.

Councilman Corey Johnson’s office connected the docents with summer campers at the Hartley House — a community center on West 46th Street in Hell’s Kitchen — who decorated wooden stars that the group will bring to the town.

“If you speak to any that were there [in Gander], they said they were amazing, they were in awe, they were humbled by how human beings could be so kind to so many thousands of other human beings,” Jaffe said. “[The stars will] serve as beacons of hope and compassion for all to see.”

Jaffe and her group will hang the stars in the schools, synagogues, churches and diners that lent their services to the unexpected visitors a decade and a half ago ago, she said.

She and Johnson spoke with students who painted the stars at Hartley House on Thursday, before she packed them up to bring to Gander.

“I wasn’t alive when President Kennedy was assassinated, but it’s something we all know about,” Johnson said. “For folks that were in New York during 9/11, that were alive during 9/11, everyone sort of remembers where they were when it actually happened.”

While the student artists — who range in age from 10 to 13 — didn’t live through 9/11, many had memories of the date that family members shared with them.

One girl told of a relative who was on the 100th floor of the towers on Sept. 11 but managed to escape.

Another girl’s mother’s best friend was also in one of the towers that day, she said.

“It’s really wonderful that you were all able to participate even though you didn’t experience the event yourselves,” Johnson told the students.

The project was done in conjunction with Stars of Hope, which sends wooden stars painted by children to places that have dealt with tragedy and destruction, Jaffe said.

Students “loved the idea” of making the stars to thank the people of Gander, said Mia Muratore, the program’s after-school and summer camp director.

“When they saw all the stars, and just what they did for these people in disasters… they got very creative with it, and they just thought it was great,” she said.

“It’s such a beautiful message that [the] children are giving to the world,” Jaffe added. “If children learn that at a young age, it will follow them through life.”